Our favourite bookshops in books

It seems unfair that we can't actually visit.

As cosy as a cup of tea or dark, imposing and mysterious, bookshops are as varied as the books they sell. Here are some of the fictional bookstores we wish really existed.

Bookshops & Bonedust

by Travis Baldree

Book cover for Bookshops & Bonedust

While Thistleburr Booksellers may not initially seem particularly promising – foul-mouthed owner, facing closure, located in a seaside town called Murk – we promise it won't take you long to come round. Viv the orc barbarian's career is not going well. Injured on the job, she's sent to recover off the beaten track, finding work in the aforementioned Thistleburr. Inside, she and the reader will find both comfort and adventure, helped along by a suspicious traveller, an angry gnome and a summer fling. 

Bookshops & Bonedust is the standalone prequel to the brilliant Legends and Lattes

The Cat Who Saved Books

by Sosuke Natsukawa

Book cover for The Cat Who Saved Books

If this tale of second-hand book store Natsuki Books doesn't affirm a love of books and bookshops, nothing will. The tiny shop faces closure when its owner, Rintaro Natsuki's grandfather, dies. Enter a talking tabby cat called Tiger, who needs Rintaro's help to save books from people who have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. By the end, you'll be desperately rooting for the two unusual heroes, and the atmospheric, towering-shelved Natsuki Books.

Can't Spell Treason Without Tea

by Rebecca Thorne

Book cover for Can't Spell Treason Without Tea

What do you do when you're a queen's elite bodyguard and the most powerful mage in the world, but you both really just want to open a bookshop? Run away to a mountain town deep in dragon country, of course. Reyna and Kianthe's shop is a dream: wooden floors, plants, cake. But what follows is a tale of mishaps, mysteries, dragons, and a murderous queen throwing the realm’s biggest temper tantrum.

The Girl Who Reads on the Metro

by Christine Féret-Fleury

Book cover for The Girl Who Reads on the Metro

Books Unlimited is a place like no other, the most enchanting shop Juliette has ever seen. Run by the mysterious Soliman, who believes in the power of books to change the course of a life, the shop employs Juliette as a 'book passeur': she must follow people, learn about them, then find the perfect book for what they're going through. But it's not just other people whose lives are destined to be changed forever. . .

The Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book cover for The Shadow of the Wind

We're being a bit sneaky here, for as much as we like the sound of protagonist Daniel's family bookshop, it's the Cemetery of Forgotten Books we're really drawn to, and it's a library not a shop. Secret, labyrinthine, home to rare and banned books, it's where Daniel discovers The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax – the catalyst of this story within a story. 

The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For

by Alison Bechdel

Book cover for The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For

Feminist bookstore Madwimmin Books is the connecting thread between several of the characters in Alison Bechdel's seminal comic strip, which ran from 1983 to 2008 and is collected together here. One of the first continuing representations of lesbians in popular culture, the strip also brought the Bechdel Test (on gender bias in cultural entertainment) to the public consciousness.